Confessions of a picky eater

Confessions of a picky eater

By Chelsey Boutan

As I looked into my refrigerator, I grimaced at the sight of a bag filled with what a picky eater like me dreads most – broccoli.

I didn’t want to eat the broccoli but I was determined to fulfill the promise I made to Martha O’Gorman, coordinator of nutrition programming at Campus Recreation. During my second nutrition consultation with O’Gorman, I vowed that I would give vegetables another chance.

I opened my mouth ever so slightly and nibbled at the end of the broccoli stalk. When the unpleasant, bitter flavor filled my mouth, I felt the urge to gag. Refusing to admit I was being schooled by a vegetable, I took a second bite, this time at the flowery end of the broccoli. I regretted this seconds later when I grabbed a water bottle to swish the awful taste out of my mouth.

After my failed attempt to eat broccoli, I felt frustrated. Maybe, just maybe, I will always be a picky eater, or so I thought. Then, I remembered a conversation I had with O’Gorman during the nutrition consultation.

As we were talking about meal planning and how I needed to include more fruits, vegetables and dairy into my diet, O’Gorman attempted to find what the root cause of my pickiness was.

“Why do you think you’re a picky eater?” she asked.

I told her I wasn’t sure why but remembered how, when I was a child, my friends’ parents, or even my own parents, would make me try asparagus, green beans and other vegetables before leaving the dinner table.

“You just have to try it, and then you will like it,” they would tell me.

I would bite into the vegetable, make a scrunched up face and down some water before saying, “See, I told you I wouldn’t like it.”

Looking back, maybe my stubbornness and need to always be right has contributed to my picky ways. O’Gorman helped me realize my picky eating habits could subside over time.

“That transition from adolescence to adulthood is when we get some shifts in our taste acceptance,” O’Gorman said. “A lot of kids won’t eat a wide range of foods. It’s an interesting phenomenon.”

O’Gorman encouraged me to start trying foods that I previously didn’t like. Many of them, including broccoli, I hadn’t tried in years.

I felt a little bit resistant to trying to achieve this new goal, which I think O’Gorman picked up on.

“Your pickiness is a bit of a barrier to your nutrition,” O’Gorman said. “What’s the worst thing that will happen if you eat something you don’t like?”

I smiled sheepishly and told her, “The worst case is I’d have a bad taste in my mouth.”

That’s exactly what happened when I tried the broccoli, but the small risk of not liking it doesn’t outweigh the benefits of having a more nutritious diet. There isn’t someone to make me sit in my seat at the dinner table to try something new anymore.

It’s on my own terms, and I kind of like it.